UPDATED: 25. NOV 2020, AT 18:01

How to travel to and from Slovakia during COVID-19

Check out which border crossings are open, and how bus, train and air transport works.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: TASR)

After adopting strict measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic in Slovakia in March, the country started opening to the world in summer.

The lifted measures have put an end to the mandatory state and smart quarantine, and also enabled several carriers to restore their operation.

If you plan to travel to or from Slovakia, here is some useful information before setting off on your trip:

How do I cross borders to and from Slovakia?

Related articleUPDATED: Hungary closes borders to foreigners as of September 1 Read more 

Starting on November 16 at 7:00, Austria, Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary will be deemed risky counties.

As a result, those entering Slovakia from these countries will be required to either show a negative PCR test no older than 72 hours or register at korona.gov.sk and start home isolation. The form requires you to fill in a phone number, a place of isolation, and the name of your attending physician.

When entering the country, you should be able to show police officers a confirmation of your registration on the website. Police controls will be random.

Exceptions include:

  • cross-border workers;
  • students, teachers, researchers;
  • people who need to take care of their family members;
  • medical workers;
  • farmers with land within a 10-km distance from the borders;
  • social workers;
  • workers in critical infrastructure;
  • some athletes and artists.

Everybody needs to prove the purpose of their journey when crossing the borders.

Cross-border commuters:

Related articleCzechia will be in "intermediate mode". Here’s what you need to know Read more 

An exemption for cross-border workers applies to everyone who lives in Slovakia and works in neighbouring countries. They will not be required to show any negative test results, but they need proof they are working in the neighbouring state.

Exemptions include also people living in neighbouring countries within a 30-km distance from the open border crossing, people who work in Slovakia within a 30-km distance from the border crossing, and Slovak citizens living within a 30-km distance from the open border crossing.

Students living in the neighbouring countries who study in Slovakia, or vice versa, must have proof issued by their school that they are participating in in-person education.

Borders with Ukraine remain closed, and people can enter the country only through selected crossings:

  • Vyšné Nemecké – Uzhgorod (for personal and freight transport, opened between 7:00 and 19:00)

Group of foreigners who are allowed to enter Slovakia through the outer border with Ukraine:

  • foreigners with a relationship to a Slovak citizen (spouses, minors, parents of a minor who is a Slovak citizen) do not need to be accompanied by their children or spouses, but have to show a document proving the relationship (original or copy of birth certificate, marriage certificate...). Documents not in Slovak must be accompanied by a translation - an unofficial one is enough.
  • foreigners with a valid residence permit in Slovakia;
  • foreigners with exemptions (like working in health care, social care, or students).

How can I travel from Slovakia to "low-risk" countries?

Starting on November 16 at 7:00, Slovakia adopts the European (ECDC) methodology to deem countries risky and less risky.

After arriving from countries listed as low-risk, no registration and isolation is required.

Before travelling abroad, check the conditions for entering your final destination. You can find them on the website of the Foreign Affairs Ministry (in Slovak).

How can I travel between Slovakia and countries not on the "low-risk countries" list?

Everybody who enters Slovakia and visited countries not on the list of low-risk countries during the past 14 days has to register at korona.gov.sk. The form requires you to fill in a phone number, a place of isolation, and the name of your attending physician. When entering the country, you should be able to show police officers a confirmation about registration on the website.

There are certain differences for people coming from EU and non-EU countries not on the green list.

EU countries, plus Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, the UK, and Switzerland:

  • Everybody who enters Slovakia and visited EU member states not on the list of low-risk countries during the past 14 days needs to enter home isolation.
  • Home isolation ends after 10 days or after you have received a negative COVID-19 test usually taken on the 5th day after arrival (children younger than seven years of age are an exception if they have no symptoms).
  • Home isolation and registration is not required if incomers show a negative COVID-19 test no older than 72 hours. In this case, it is not required to register and contact attending physician.

Non-EU countries:

  • People entering Slovakia who visited non-EU member states not on the list of low-risk countries during the past 14 days have to undergo home isolation.
  • Home isolation ends after you receive a negative COVID-19 test usually taken on the 5th day after arrival (children younger than seven years of age are exempt if they have no symptoms).
Related articleTravelling abroad? You should avoid these regions Read more 

People living in the same household need to stay in isolation too. Isolation ends after the test is negative.

The same applies to foreigners, including EU citizens who visited a country not on the low-risk countries list in the past 14 days.

They can enter Slovakia also via the border crossings at the airports which fully opened on September 7. Everybody who enters the country via airports in Slovakia and who has been in a red country in the past 14 days will have to show a registration confirmation from the Korona.gov.sk/ehranica.sk website to a police officer and also fill out an online form published on the Transport Ministry's website at least 24 hours before their scheduled arrival. Read more details here.

If the person does not have a place of residence in Slovakia, isolation in a hotel or an accommodation facility is acceptable. The person needs to arrange this stay with the owner of the selected facility beforehand and then report the place of stay to the respective regional Public Health Authority (RÚVZ) branch.

Moreover, everybody coming to Slovakia who visited risky country during 14 days before their arrival need to contact their attending physician. The attending physician for people without a place of residence in Slovakia is the physician of the self-governing region.

In addition, if any person returning from abroad, including those who were in green-list countries, report any symptoms of respiratory disease, they need to contact their attending physician or 112 and discuss their next steps.

Can I transit via Slovakia?

EU citizens will be able to travel through Slovakia without an exemption from the Interior Ministry, but their transit cannot last longer than eight hours, including breaks.

They are also recommended to check the situation in Slovakia’s neighbouring countries.

Related articleNational emergency will be declared on Thursday Read more 

Non-EU citizens who return to the EU member state where they have permanent or a temporary residence can transit via Slovakia only if they show a negative COVID-19 test in Slovak, Czech, English or German. The transit period cannot last longer than eight hours, including breaks.

How can I travel to Slovakia by bus?

The second pandemic wave has affected the bus connections between Slovakia and Austria.

Czech private carrier RegioJet stopped the buses operating between Bratislava and Vienna, citing both the pandemic and the slump in passengers on October 26. For now, the buses will not operate until November 15. The carrier offers the usual services to its passengers onboard of both trains and buses, including the purchase of refreshments and the use of toilets. Passengers are required to cover their faces. There are also disinfectants instead of soap. The ticket price includes free seat reservation.

Related articleCoronavirus cancels buses to Vienna Read more 

Another carrier, FlixBus, has confirmed a temporary stop to the buses running between Bratislava and Vienna, too. The reason is to minimise the economic impacts as there has been a drop in passengers. Passengers are required to cover their faces while travelling and disinfect their hands. Entrance is possible only through the back door; passengers are checked in through their mobile phones. The sale of refreshments is suspended and toilets are closed. Passengers are asked to purchase their tickets in advance.

Another bus services operator, the Slovak Lines company, said that it will continue operating the buses running between Bratislava and Vienna. Currently, there are eight buses dispatched every two hours. The buses to Hungary have been suspended due to the closed borders. Passengers are required to cover their faces while travelling. They are allowed to enter via the front door and buy a ticket from the driver. Passengers cannot sit in the first two rows behind drivers.

How can I travel to Slovakia by train?

Related articleRed-listed Czechia affects trains to and from Slovakia Read more 

The state-run railway passenger carrier ZSSK operates international transport to the Czech Republic, Austria, Poland and Hungary.

Slovakia’s decision to include the Czech Republic among its red-listed countries has also affected the operation of trains running between the two countries. This includes the trains running between Bratislava and Prague, and Púchov and Prague, as well as trains between Košice and Prague, Prešov, Nové Zámky, Bratislava and Prague, and Prague and Humenné.

Passengers need to cover their faces when purchasing tickets at the counters and also onboard. If they fail to do so, the conductor may ask them to leave the train.

Passengers travelling onboard InterCity trains on the Košice – Bratislava – Vienna route receive bottled water (0.5 litre), and the carrier offers daily newspapers in electronic form. Passengers in 1st class also receive hot drinks.

RegioJet restored connections between Slovakia and the Czech Republic, and also to/from Rijeka in Croatia and Ljubljana in Slovenia.

The carrier offers the usual services to its passengers onboard of both trains and buses, including the purchase of refreshments and the use of toilets. Passengers are required to cover their faces. There are also disinfectants instead of soap. The ticket price includes free seat reservation.

How can I travel to Slovakia by plane?

Related articleFlying in to Slovakia from a red country? Make sure to register online Read more 

The ban on flights to and from risky countries was lifted on September 7.

Passengers have to follow strict hygienic measures, including covering their faces with a mask or a scarf (except for children younger than 3 years of age) the whole time while at the airport and onboard the plane. They also have to disinfect their hands when entering the building, maintain a 2-metre distance at check-in and security check. After arrival, their body temperature will be measured.

The Transport Ministry launched a website where every passenger flying to Slovakia will have to fill in the form at least 24 hours before their scheduled arrival. They will have to state, among other things, which country they are flying from and where they will stay. Incomers also need to register at Korona.gov.sk/ehranica.sk and be able to show a registration confirmation to the police officer. Travellers are advised to check the conditions set by the airline companies before boarding the plane.

Private and business flights to/from the low-risk countries are allowed.

Passengers whose flights land at airports in countries on the safe list should be able to travel to Slovakia if they are allowed to enter the territory of the respective country (check the above-mentioned information concerning borders).

If your plane lands in Vienna or Budapest, you can take a bus or a train to Slovakia as several carriers have restored their services. Check out what you need to do after arriving in Slovakia from low-risk or unsafe countries.

This article was first published on June 17, 2020.

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